A few years back I attended a board game party where most of the people already knew each other, and I was looking forward to making new connections. I soon realized, though, that part of the “game” was to outwit each other with sarcastic barbs.
On the surface, sarcasm might seem like an innocent, funny way to jest with others. But being energetically sensitive, the sarcastic words actually FELT to me like barbs as the insults or “cuts” were hurled around the room.
There’s a fine line between friendly competition and the undercurrent of anger I sensed in the room that night.
Oscar Wilde famously said, “Sarcasm is the lowest form of wit but the highest form of intelligence.” Many people at that party were members of Mensa, the high-IQ organization. And yes, some of the barbs were creative and super witty as they attempted to “out burn” one another. However, the sarcastic veneer prevented deeper-level conversations, curiosity, and compassion – which are things I truly value in relationships.
It may not surprise you that I don’t resonate with this type of humor, nor do I use it in my conversations with family, friends, or clients.
What’s your experience with sarcasm?
Researcher and storyteller Brené Brown recently wrote how the word sarcasm comes from the Greek “sarkazein,” meaning to “tear flesh.” Ouch! No wonder sarcasm feels physically painful to me.
Our words matter. They have a vibration and can be healing or hurtful.
I believe that it’s vitally important to make room in our conversations to really hear one another. What sarcasm does – often unknowingly – is lower the level of openness and safety in the conversational space. When talking with someone who uses sarcasm, you may hesitate to share because you wonder if you’ll be met with kindness or brushed off with a sarcastic remark.
When is the last time you felt truly heard?
One of my gifts is deep listening – even beyond spoken words. Are you in need of some space where you’re heard at your deepest levels? I invite you to schedule some undivided attention on YOU in my Heart and Soul Strategy Session. (It comes with a sarcasm-free guarantee). (: